Oakland-based band Van Goat brings a whimsical musical journey to Pleasant Hill’s Sunset by the Lake

Self-described swing punk band Van Goat took the stage in downtown Pleasant Hill Sunday. (Pete Cruz photo)

PLEASANT HILL, CA (June 10, 2024) —The season of free summer concerts in the suburbs has arrived. Folks in Pleasant Hill came out Sunday for the second biweekly “Sunset by the Lake” event.

Oakland-based band Van Goat set up on stage on the bright afternoon. Spectators spread around the perimeter of the lake (some might say pond). Food trucks served up burgers, burritos, and beer.

For the kids, organizers set up a bouncy house and other fun distractions, including Legos, face painting, and a balloon artist twisting out various inflated animals and other fun shapes.

The food and games were fun, but the band took the focus once the music started.

Swing Punk

Van Goat’s style is a unique blend of swing, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, for a fresh yet nostalgic sound they call swing punk. Their music pays homage to the big band era while incorporating edgy elements of surf rock and punk.

As the sun set, Van Goat took the audience on a whimsical journey through time and space. Their set included songs from various eras, including “Willie the Weeper” written around 1904, “The Space Girl’s Song” from 1956, and the Ronette’s ‘60s classic “Be My Baby.” The group shared original songs, such as the snappy “God’s on the other guy’s side,” and the melancholy ballad “Time of Year.” They also had fun with the Star Wars cantina band song, and even led the crowd in singing happy birthday to several audience members.

Van Goat includes Aidan Ward on lead vocals, guitar and clarinet, and Lindsay Alexis on lead vocals and trombone. Rounding out the band are Ben Einstein on keyboard, Derek Burle on bass and Taylor Moxon on drums.

Coming up

The next Sunset by the Lake concert is scheduled for June  23 and will bring Beaufunk (featuring Michael Jeffries) to the stage. For more information on the concerts, visit the Pleasant Hill concert page. Also check out Van Goat’s music, merch and performance dates on their website vangoatband.com.